Agriculture is the world's largest economic sector. On a worldwide basis, more people are involved in agriculture than in all the other occupations combined.
Looking back through wars, famines and plagues, food shortages and starvation have been common throughout human history and there have been many grim predictions that gains in food production would not be able to keep pace with increases in population.
To date, through invention and innovation, man has managed to keep up.
The world population is growing by 86 million per year and the United Nations estimates that the total is already over six billion people.
It is predicted that the world population will reach over nine billion by 2050 and although the proportion that is hungry and malnourished is slowly declining, the absolute number is still increasing.
Today, the estimated number of people who are hungry and malnourished is around 830 million people, one quarter of them children below five years of age.
Source: The European Food Information Council (www.eufic.org)